BIO327 From gene to function in plants

Credits (ECTS):10

Course responsible:Åshild Gunilla Ergon, Romulo Sacramento Sobral

Campus / Online:Taught campus Ås

Teaching language:Engelsk

Limits of class size:20 maximum students

Course frequency:Annually

Nominal workload:250 hours.

Teaching and exam period:Autumn parallel

About this course

Research is currently in a situation where many candidate genes for various traits have been identified, but the ability to understand and describe their functional role is still limited to the knowhow of available techniques. To circumvent this, the BIO327 course proposes to give students an overview of the bioinformatic and laboratorial techniques that are necessary to integrate knowledge in plant molecular and whole-plant biology, and that can be employed to unravel gene function. The course will be divided into weekly lectures and practical sessions that will include the execution of at least four laboratory protocols. Lectures will be divided into two blocks, a block where the course responsible will describe the most important techniques that are being used to validate gene function and a second block in which invited speakers will describe their work emphasising the idea of how gene function validation is currently being used in plant studies.

Learning outcome


  • Students will be acquainted with the major types of regulatory mechanisms in plants from epigenetic up to post-translational regulation.
  • Students will be familiarized with key regulators involved in plant function highlighting the different levels of regulation these regulators are subjected to (chromatin structure, miRNAs and transcription factors)
  • Students will understand the rationale behind different laboratory techniques and bioinformatic analyses that can be used to describe gene function, such as comparative genomics, forward and reverse genetics, mutant analysis (knock out, knock in) and genotyping, immunolabelling, protein-protein and protein-DNA interactions, expression analysis (qRT-PCR or gene reporter assays) or transient and permanent plant transformation.


  • Students will have practical experience in various techniques within plant molecular biology and their importance in biological research
  • Students will be able to design a strategy to unravel the gene function of a candidate gene for a specific trait
  • Students will be capable to integrate data obtained from distinct sources to make inferences about gene function, e.g. experiments at molecular, cell, tissue or whole plant level, quantitative/population genetic analyses, and different types of -omics.

General competence

  • A high level of understanding of plant gene functions and how to apply them
  • Lectures and guest lectures (20h) and 5 practical sessions (1 bioinformatic and 4 lab sessions, 4h each).
  • Canvas
  • BIO200, BOT200, BIO244
  • Combined assessment.

    Written exam during the exam period (multiple choice and descriptive answers) - 3 hours

    Lab report, that will include all practical sessions counts 25% of the final grade.

    A written and presented assay counts 25% of the final grade

    Active participation during lectures counts 10% of the final grade

    Written exam counts 40% of the final grade

  • The sensor will approve the exam questions and assist in the assessments
  • Lab sessions are mandatory
  • 15 h - lectures

    5 h - guest lectures

    20h - practical sessions

    10 h - presentations (20 min + 10 min discussion)

    2 h - exam

  • M-PV
  • Special requirements in Science